Jemison to host Citizens Academy

Published 6:07 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Jemison Police Chief Shane Fulmer wants city residents to feel more like part of the force.

What better way than to put them through the Academy?

While different than the training police officers receive, graduates of Jemison’s first Citizens Academy will still gain great knowledge of the jobs officers perform.

“There’s a lot that the general public doesn’t know,” Fulmer said, and the academy is an effort to offer some insight.

The program will include 10 weeks of training over a one-year period.

Classes will start at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Jemison Municipal Complex courtroom.

Topics covered will include: patrol operations and policy, understanding citations, accident investigation, vehicle inspection, use of force, firearm safety, narcotic investigation, evidence collection and traffic stops.

Special demonstrations will include: a facility tour, mock crime scenes, Chilton County Jail tour, K-9 demonstration, a Taser demonstration, a visit to a firing range, and possibly the opportunity to ride along with officers on patrol.

Instructors will include Fulmer, Deputy Chief Marc McMinn and other Jemison officers, plus an Alabama state trooper, local judges, the jail warden and others.

Fulmer stressed that every instructor is affiliated with Chilton County law enforcement in some way.

The idea isn’t to teach participants how to do everything—that would take a more extensive course—but rather what is going on during police activity and why officers do the things they do.

“We’re excited about it, being able to do this with the general public,” Fulmer said.

Participants will also have the opportunity to share thoughts they have about JPD.

“We want feedback from the public,” Fulmer said.

The course is scheduled to begin on March 8.

Class size will be limited to 20 people, and slots will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Those interested should pick up an application at the Municipal Complex during business hours.

The deadline for applications to be returned is Feb. 25.

Applicants should be at least 18 years old and without a criminal background.

At least eight classes will have to be attended for a participant to graduate from the academy.

At the end of the course, graduates will be declared academy alumni, and Fulmer said there is even the possibility an alumni group could be formed that would assist Jemison officers with their work, such as providing a presence at sporting events.

Such a group would further strengthen the connection between residents and their police force.

“It’s a good time to bond with the people,” Fulmer said. “You have to have community involvement and community trust in managing a city police department.”